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C H SPURGEON EXPOSITION OF GALATIANS All of Spurgeon's expositions on GalatiansIncorporated with devotionals, sermon notes, etc
Galatians 1:1. Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) —
Paul was intensely desirous that the Galatian Christians should understand that he was no mere repeater of other men’s doctrines, but that what he taught he had received directly from God by supernatural revelation. They knew that he had been a most determined opposer of the gospel. Indeed, he was a man of such great determination that, whatever he did he did with all his might; so, no sooner did God reveal Christ to him, so that he knew Jesus to be the Messiah, than he earnestly sought to learn yet more of the truth, not by going up to the apostles at Jerusalem, to borrow from them, but by getting alone in the waste places of Arabia? there, by thought and meditation upon the Word, and by communion with God, to learn yet more concerning the divine mysteries.
Paul begins this Epistle by stating his commission as an apostle. In Galatia, he had been subjected to the great sorrow of having his apostle-ship called in question. Does he, therefore, give up his claim to the office, and retire from the work? No, not for a moment; but he begins his letter to the Galatians by declaring himself to be “an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ.” His enemies had said, “Paul was never one of the Savior’s twelve apostles; he is not like those who were trained and educated by Christ himself. No doubt he has borrowed his doctrine from them, and he is only a retailer of other men’s goods”. No, no,” says Paul, “I am an apostle as truly as any other of the twelve; ’not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;’“ —
Galatians 1:2. And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: —
Paul ever loved to associate others with him in his Christian service. He was not one who wanted to ride the high horse, and to keep himself aloof from his brethren in Christ. He frequently mentions the true-hearted men who were with him, even though they were far inferior to him in talent and also in grace. He often joins with himself such men as Timothy and Silvanus, and here he puts in ,”all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia”: —
Galatians 1:3. Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, —
It is the genius of the gospel to wish well to others. Hence Paul begins the actual Epistle with a benediction: “Grace be to you and peace.” Dear friends, may you all have a fullness of these two good things! Grace rightly comes first, and peace afterwards. Peace before grace would be perilous; nay more, it would be ruinous. But may you always have enough of grace to lead you on to a deep and joyful peace! The two things go together very delightfully, — grace and peace, — and it is the best of grace, and the best of peace, since they come “from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Galatians 1:4. Who gave Himself for our sins, —
There is the doctrine of the atonement, which Paul always brings into his preaching and writing as soon as he can: “Who gave himself for our sins.” Well does Luther say, “Christ never gave himself for our righteousness; but he gave himself for our sins, because there was no other way of saving us except by a sacrifice for sin.” The substitutionary character of Christ’s death is always to be noticed: “Who gave himself for our sins,” —
Christ died for our sins, not for our virtues. It is not your efficiencies, but your deficiencies which entitle you to the Lord Jesus. It is not your wealth, but your lack. It is not what you have, but what you have not. It is not what you can boast of, but what you mourn over that qualifies you to receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:4, 5. That he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Lord Jesus Christ himself puts away our sin in order that we may rise out of it, and may become a pure and holy people, delivered from this present evil world, and brought into obedience to the will of God.
Now we come to quite another topic.
Galatians 1:6. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
We have not only "another gospel," but we have fifty other gospels now preached.
The Galatians were a very fickle people. Some have said that they were a colony from Gaul, — Galatians, — and that they partook somewhat of the fickleness which is attributed to the character of the Gaul. I know not how true that may be; but, certainly, they seem very soon to have left the gospel, to have adulterated it, and to have fallen into Ritualism, into Sacramentarianism, into salvation by works, and all the errors into which people usually fall when they go away from the gospel.
Galatians 1:7. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
“Another gospel: which is not another;” for there are not two gospels, any more than there are two gods. There is one only message from God, of good news to men; and if you turn away from that, you turn away to a falsehood, to that which will bring you trouble, to that which will pervert you, and lead you astray.
Galatians 1:8. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Paul is no fanatic, no raving enthusiast; yet he cannot endure the notion of a false gospel. In his solemn anathema, he includes himself, and all the brethren with him, yea, and the very angels of God if they “preach any other gospel.” Let him be accursed, saith he, and so he is.
Galatians 1:9. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The modern style of speaking is, “Let us fraternize with him; he is a man of original thought. Surely, you would not bind all men down to one mode of speech. Perhaps, if he has made mistakes, you will bring him round to your way of thinking By receiving him kindly into your fellowship.” “No, no;” says Paul, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Galatians 1:10. For do f now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
He would not be the servant of Christ if he pleased men. Those whom we try to please, are our masters. If a man tries to please the populace, or to please the refined few, these are his masters, and he will be their flare; but if he tries to please his God, then is he a free man indeed.
Galatians 1:11, 12. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul foresaw what would be said about him in the after ages; and truly, to this day, the fiercest attack upon Christianity is always made upon the teaching of the apostle Paul. The men who creep in unawares among us talk glibly about having great reverence for Christ, but none for Paul. Yet Paul is Christ’s apostle; Paul speaks only what was personally revealed to him by the Lord himself; and he is in everything to be accepted as speaking by divine revelation.
Galatians 1:13, 14. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure, persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
He was an out-and-out Jew. He never took up anything without going through with it thoroughly; so, while he believed in Judaism, he did believe it. He was no hypocrite, no pretender, so he fought for it tooth and nail. This was the man who afterwards preached the Christianity he had received from Christ, Evidently he did not borrow it from his parents, for they had taught him quite differently. His religion was not the product of his training; but it came to him from God, — to him who seemed to be the most unlikely person in the whole land ever to receive it.
Galatians 1:15, 16. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mothers womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
He felt divinely called to preach the gospel Christ revealed himself to him on the way to Damascus. As soon as he was converted, he did not wait for anybody to ordain him, or to teach him further, but he says, “I conferred not with flesh and blood”
Galatians 1:17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but went into Arabia, —
What he did there, we do not know; but probably he had a time of quiet meditation and prayer, all alone: “I went into Arabia.” The best thing we can do, sometimes, is to get away from the voices of men, and listen only to the voice of God: “I went into Arabia,” —
Galatians 1:17. And returned again unto Damascus.
To bear witness for Christ in the very city where he had gone to persecute the saints.
Galatians 1:18. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
That is, “after three years,” which showed that he did not go there to receive any commission from Peter. He had been for three years working for his Lord and Master before he ever saw the face of an apostle.
Galatians 1:19. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
He had an interview with the apostle James. He was probably the chief minister of the church at Jerusalem, so Paul went and had a conversation with him.
Galatians 1:20. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
“I did not derive my knowledge of Christ from any one of these holy men, therefore I am not an imitator of any other apostle. I was sent out by Christ himself, and instructed by him by revelation, so I am an apostle of Christ as much as any of them.”
Galatians 1:21, 22. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ:
They did not know him; it is evident that he had not been there to be taught by them, or else they would have recognized their illustrious pupil.
Galatians 1:23, 24. But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once be destroyed. And they glorified God in me.
Brothers and sisters, may you and I so live that Christian people may glorify God in us! May they often wonder at the mighty grace which has wrought such a change in us; and as they see us zealous and fervent, may they marvel at the amazing grace of God which has brought us to be so consecrated to Christ!
Galatians 2:1, 2. Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation,-
He was sent by the church at Antioch, but the church there was guided by revelation, so that Paul is correct in saying, “I went up by revelation,” —
Galatians 2:2-4. And communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
There were always some among the Jewish converts who insisted that the Gentiles should come under the seal of the old covenant if they were to be partakers of the blessings of the gospel, but to this Paul would never consent:
Galatians 2:6. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
It is impossible for us to estimate how much we owe to the apostle Paul of all who have ever lived, we who are Gentiles owe more to him than to say other man. See how he fought our battles for us. When our Jewish brethren would have excluded us because we were not of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, how bravely did he contend that, if we were partakers of the same faith, Abraham is the father of all the faithful that he was loved of God, and the covenant was made with him, not in circumcision, but before he was circumcised, and that we are partakers of that covenant.
Galatians 2:10. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
One of the first things he did, when there was a famine in Judaea, was to make a collection for the saints in other places, that he might aid the poor Christians.
Galatians 2:10 Remember the Poor - Devotional - Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor? He could make them all rich if he pleased; he could lay bags of gold at their doors; he could send them a large annual income; or he could scatter round their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps round the camp of Israel, and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that he sees it to be best. "The cattle upon a thousand hills are his"-he could supply them; he could make the richest, the greatest, and the mightiest bring all their power and riches to the feet of his children, for the hearts of all men are in his control. But he does not choose to do so; he allows them to suffer want, he allows them to pine in penury and obscurity. Why is this? There are many reasons: one is, to give us, who are favoured with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord's flock-remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. " Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart-recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself
Galatians 2:11-14. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from Jesus, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
It must have been very painful to Paul’s feelings to come into conflict with Peter, whom he greatly esteemed; but yet, for the truth’s sake, he knew no persons, and he had to withstand even a beloved brother when he saw that he was likely to pervert the simplicity of the gospel, and rob the Gentiles of their Christian liberty. For this, we ought to be very grateful to our gracious God who raised up this brave champion, this beloved apostle of the Gentiles.
Galatians 2:15, 16. We who are Jesus by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
No mere man can keep the law; no mere man has ever done so. We have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and as an absolutely perfect obedience is demanded by the law, which knows nothing of mercy we fly from the law to obtain salvation by the grace of God in Christ Jesus
Galatians 2:17. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
That would not be caused by the gospel, but by our disregard of it.
Galatians 2:18, 19. For I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
“Through my sight of the law, which I have seen to be so stern that all it call do is to condemn me for my shortcomings, I am driven away from it, and led to come and live in Christ Jesus, under the rule of grace, and not under the law of Moses.”
Paul is arguing against the idea of salvation by works, or salvation by ceremonies; and he shows, beyond all question, that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Mark the strength of the apostle’s argument in the 21st verse: “ If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in sin.” That is to say, there was no need for Christ to die, the crucifixion was a superfluity, if men can save themselves by their own good works. Paul is very emphatic about the matter. He puts it as plainly as possible: “If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.".
The true Christian carries the cross in his heart. And a cross inside the heart is one of the sweetest cures for a cross on the back. If you have a cross in your heart—Christ crucified in you—all the cross of this world's troubles will seem to you light enough, and you will easily be able to sustain it.
Jesus loved me, and gave himself for me. Can you say this? If you can, you can say more than Demosthenes or Cicero were ever able to say with all their eloquence
I do not frustrate the grace of God - This is a sin so gross that even the heathen cannot commit it. They have never heard of the grace of God, and therefore they cannot put a slight on it. When they perish it will be with a far lighter doom than those who have been told that God is gracious and ready to pardon, and yet they wickedly boast of innocence and pretend to be clean in the sight of God. This is a sin which devils cannot commit. With all the obstinacy of their rebellion, they can never reach to this. They have never had the sweet notes of free grace and dying love ringing in their ears, and therefore they have never refused the heavenly invitation.
Galatians 2:20 Crucified with Christ - Devotional The Lord Jesus Christ acted in what he did as a great public representative person, and his dying upon the cross was the virtual dying of all his people. Then all his saints rendered unto justice what was due, and made an expiation to divine vengeance for all their sins. The apostle of the Gentiles delighted to think that as one of Christ's chosen people, he died upon the cross in Christ. He did more than believe this doctrinally, he accepted it confidently, resting his hope upon it. He believed that by virtue of Christ's death, he had satisfied divine justice, and found reconciliation with God. Beloved, what a blessed thing it is when the soul can, as it were, stretch itself upon the cross of Christ, and feel, "I am dead; the law has slain me, and I am therefore free from its power, because in my Surety I have borne the curse, and in the person of my Substitute the whole that the law could do, by way of condemnation, has been executed upon me, for I am crucified with Christ. "
But Paul meant even more than this. He not only believed in Christ's death, and trusted in it, but he actually felt its power in himself in causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt nature. When he saw the pleasures of sin, he said, "I cannot enjoy these: I am dead to them." Such is the experience of every true Christian. Having received Christ, he is to this world as one who is utterly dead. Yet, while conscious of death to the world, he can, at the same time, exclaim with the apostle, "Nevertheless I live." He is fully alive unto God. The Christian's life is a matchless riddle. No worldling can comprehend it; even the believer himself cannot understand it. Dead, yet alive! crucified with Christ, and yet at the same time risen with Christ in newness of life! Union with the suffering, bleeding Saviour, and death to the world and sin, are soul-cheering things. O for more enjoyment of them!
Galatians 2:20 Crucified with Christ - Devotional - When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, he first of all said, "Live"; and this he did first, because life is one of the absolutely essential things in spiritual matters, and until it be bestowed we are incapable of partaking in the things of the kingdom. Now the life which grace confers upon the saints at the moment of their quickening is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living connection between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace which perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck which joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.
"Oh Faith! thou bond of union with the Lord,
Is not this office thine? and thy fit name,
In the economy of gospel types,
And symbols apposite-the Church's neck;
Identifying her in will and work
With him ascended?"
Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. She knows his excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace, that he never ceases to strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of his eternal arms. Here, then, is established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.
Galatians 3:1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, —
Paul writes as if they had come under some kind of witchcraft, and been deluded by it. This seemed to astonish the apostle, so he cries out to them
“Who hath bewitched you,” —
Paul, writing, to those changeable Galatians, who had so soon deserted the faith, says to them in this chapter
Galatians 3:1. That ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
They had heard the plainest possible preaching from Paul and his companions. Jesus Christ had been so clearly set forth before them that they might as it were, see him as he hung upon the cross of Calvary. Yet, under some unhallowed spell, they turned aside from the faith of Christ.
Paul does not compliment them on being a very “thoughtful,” “educated” “cultured” people; he does not care an atom about that matter, but because they had forsaken the simple truth of the gospel, he says, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” Those are hard words, Paul! Why did he not say, “Who has led you forward into more advanced views?” Not he; he calls it witchery, the work of the devil, and it is nothing better; and the wisdom of it is no better than the trickery of some old witch. If you take your eyes off Christ, it must he witchcraft that makes you do it. There is such glory, such beauty, such perfection, such wisdom, such divinity in Christ crucified that, if you turn from that sight to anything else, no matter how scientific and learned it may be, you are foolish, indeed, and somebody has “bewitched you.”
Galatians 3:2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
“You profess to have received the Spirit; did the Spirit come to you by the works of the law, or through hearing and believing the gospel?”
“When the Spirit of God came upon you, and renewed you, — when he endued some of you with miraculous gifts, — did this power come by the works of the law, or through your believing the gospel? ’ Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?’”*
They had gone off into legality; they were trying to be saved by ceremonies, and by works of their own. “Well,” asks Paul, “how did you receive the Spirit,-the Spirit by which miracles were wrought among you, the Spirit by which you spoke with unknown tongues, the Spirit which Changed and renewed your hearts? If you did indeed receive him, did you receive him by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” There was only one reply to the question; the Spirit came to them as the result of faith.
Galatians 3:3. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye not made perfect by the flesh?
“Did you begin right, and are you going to finish in some other way? Is the foundation laid in truth, and will you build falsehood upon it? Is the foundation Jesus Christ, the chief corner store, and is the superstructure to be wood, hay, and stubble?”
“Is this work to be partly God’s and partly your own? And if he has begun it with a basis of gold, are you to perfect it with your poor dust and clay? Are you so foolish as to attempt to do this ?”
If the very beginning of your religion was spiritual, a work of the Spirit received by faith, are you now going to be perfected by the flesh, by outward rites and ceremonies, or by efforts of your own?
Galatians 3:4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
“Have you been made to suffer through conviction of sin? Have you even been persecuted for the truth’s sake? And are you going to give it up after all that?
You had to struggle and endure much contention within your own spirit to get upon the ground of faith at all; are you going to throw all that away? Is all the experience of your past life to go for nothing, and are you now going to begin on a lower and baser platform?
Galatians 3:5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh Miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
“Have those miracles been wrought in your midst by the power of faith or by the works of the law?”
They knew very well that the miracles came as the result of faith, and were an attestation and seal of the gospel of faith, and not of the works of the law.
He knew that they must reply that it was faith, and not the works of the law, that gave those miraculous powers.
Galatians 3:6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
That is the Scriptural doctrine, faith is counted or imputed for righteousness.
That is the old way, the way of faith. It is not here recorded that Abraham did anything, though he did much; but the one thing that was “accounted to him for righteousness” was this, that he “believed God.”
Galatians 3:7. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Those who are justified by faith in Jesus those whose faith is counted for righteousness, they are the children of believing Abraham, — not those who are under the law of Moses.
He was the father of the faithful — that is of the believing ; — not of those who trust in their own works. These are only like Ishmael, who must be cast out of the chosen family; but the true children, the real Isaacs, are those who are born according to the promise of grace.
Not this nation or that, as Anglo-Israelites might say; but those that are of faith, these are the children of Abraham. Abraham is the father of the faithful, the believers, and believers are all the children of Abraham, Race has nothing to do with this matter; an end has been put to all that. God is not the God of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles; and here is a new race whose distinction is not that they were horn of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but by the will of God; and this is the token by which they are known, they believe God, and it is accounted to them for righteousness, even as it was accounted to Abraham.
Galatians 3:8. And the scripture, foreseeing that and would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Just as Abraham was blessed, so are the nations to be blessed, that is, by faith. By faith, they become his spiritual seed; by faith, they enter into his covenant; by faith, they receive the blessings of grace.
That is, “in thee, because thou art the father of believers. Thou art a sort of head and prototype of men who believe in me, and so, ’ in thee shall all nations be blessed ;’ and in thy seed, too, as thou shalt be the father of the Christ, shall all nations be blessed.”
That is the gospel; and we are blessed by it, because we believe in Christ, and so become the children of believing Abraham.
Galatians 3:9. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Just as the believing Abraham was accounted righteous, so believing men who are the spiritual seed of Abraham, are also accounted righteous.
Galatians 3:10. For as many as are of the words of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Can any man perfectly keep the whole law of God? Has any man ever continued in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them? No; and, therefore, all that the law does is to bring the curse upon those who are under its dominion, and none of them can obtain salvation by the works of the law.
All the people in the world who think themselves good, all the mere moralists, all those who, however amiable they may be, however excellent and religious they may be, are trusting to be saved by good works, are all under the curse, as surely as the drunkard, or the liar, or the swearer, is under the curse.
That is all that Moses can say to you, and all that the Old Testament can reveal to you. Apart from faith in Christ, all its rites and ceremonies, all its laws and precepts, if you are resting in them, can only land you under the curse, because you cannot continue in all things which are written in the hook of the law to do them. You have not so continued thus far, you will not so continue, and nothing but an absolutely perfect obedience to the law could save a man by the way of works; and as that obedience is not possible, we come under the curse if we come under the law.
Galatians 3:11. But that no man is justified by the law, in the sight of God is evident: for the just shall live by faith.
This passage is again and again repeated in the Scriptures: “The just shall live by faith.” There are no other just men living, there cannot be any other just men living, but those that live by faith.
If then, even those who are just live by faith, how can any expect that they shall live by their works ?
Here Paul quotes again from the Old Testament Scriptures: “The just shall live by faith.” Even the just man lives by faith; then, how can you who are not just expect to live in any other way?
Galatians 3:12. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
The law demands doing, the gospel enjoins believing. The believing man comes in as an heir of the blessing, but, the man who trusts to his own doing is an heir of the curse.
The law says nothing about faith; it speaks only about doing: “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.”
The very spirit of law is the spirit of works; and as life only comes by faith, it cannot come by the works of the law, for they are not of faith.
Now comes the gospel, clear and bright, like the sun rising out of a thick fog.
Galatians 3:13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
What a wonderful doctrine this is! We should have hesitated to use such language as this had not the Holy Spirit himself moved Paul to write that Christ was “made a curse for us.” He who is most blessed for ever, he who is the fountain of blessing and the channel of blessing to all who ever are blessed, was “made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” —
There is the key of the mystery. Christ is our Substitute. He fulfilled the law’s demands by his perfect obedience, and he suffered the law’s utmost penalty by his death upon the cross; and, now, all those who believe in him are for ever justified because of what he did for them.
Here is substitution; what else can the words mean? Christ hung on a tree for us, bearing our curse, in our room, and place, and stead.
You must either be cursed by God or else you must accept Christ as bearing the curse in-stead of you. This is the truth which the apostles preached, and suffered and died to maintain. It is this for which the Reformers struggled. It is this for which the martyrs burned at Smithfield. It is the grand basic doctrine of the Reformation, and the very truth of God.
Galatians 3:13 Christ Made A Curse for Us - Pdf -The Apostle had been showing to the Galatians that salvation is in no degree by works. He proved this all-important Truth of God, in the verses which precede the text, by a very conclusive form of double reasoning. He showed, first, that the Law could not give the blessing of salvation, for, since all had broken it, all that the Law could do was to curse. He quotes the substance of the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy, “Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them.” And as no man can claim that he has continued in all things that are in the Law, he pointed out the clear inference that all men under the Law had incurred the curse. He then reminds the Galatians, in the second place, that if any had ever been blessed in the olden times, the blessing came not by the Law, but by their faith—and to prove this, he quotes a passage from Habakkuk 2:4 in which it is distinctly stated that the just shall live by faith—so that those who were just and righteous did not live before God on the footing of their obedience to the Law, but they were justified and made to live on the ground of their being Believers. See, then, that if the Law inevitably curses us all, and if the only people who are said to have been preserved in gracious life were justified not by works, but by faith—then is it certain beyond a doubt that the salvation and justification of a sinner cannot be by the works of the Law, but altogether by the Grace of God through faith which is in Christ Jesus. But the Apostle, no doubt feeling that now he was declaring that doctrine he had better declare the foundation and root of it, unveils in the text before us a reason why men are not saved by their personal righteousness, but saved by their faith. He tells us that the reason is this—that men are not saved by any personal merit but their salvation lies in Another—lies, in fact, in Christ Jesus, the representative Man who alone can deliver us from the curse which the Law brought upon us. And since works do not connect us with Christ, but faith is the uniting bond, faith becomes the way of salvation.
Since faith is the hand that lays hold upon the finished work of Christ—which works could not and would not do, for works lead us to boast and to forget Christ—faith becomes the true and only way of obtaining justification and everlasting life. In order that such faith may be nurtured in us, may God the Holy Spirit this morning lead us into the depths of the great work of Christ! May we understand more clearly the nature of His substitution and of the suffering which it entailed upon Him. Let us see, indeed, the truth of the stanzas whose music has just died away—(Read the full sermon)
“He bore that we might never bear — His Father’s righteous ire.”
Galatians 3:13: The Curse Removed - The law of God is a divine law, holy, heavenly, perfect. Those who find fault with the law, or in the least degree depreciate it, do not understand its design, and have no right idea of the law itself. Paul says, "the law is holy, but I am carnal; sold under sin." In all we ever say concerning justification by faith, we never intend to lower the opinion which our hearers have of the law, for the law is one of the most sublime of God's works. There is not a commandment too many; there is not one too few; but it is so incomparable, that its perfection is a proof of its divinity. No human lawgiver could have given forth such a law as that which we find in the decalogue. It is a perfect law; for all human laws that are right are to be found in that brief compendium and epitome of all that is good and excellent toward God, or between man and man.
But while the law is glorious, it is never more misapplied than when it is used as a means of salvation. God never intended men to be saved by the law. When he proclaimed it on Sinai, it was with thunder, fire, and smoke; as if he would say, "O man, hear my law; but thou shalt tremble while thou hearest it." Hear it! It is a law which hath the blast of a terrible trumpet, even like the day of destruction, of which it is but the herald, if thou offendest it, and findest none to bear the doom for thee. It was written on stone; as if to teach us that it was a hard, cold, stony law-one which would have no mercy upon us, but which, if we break it, would fall upon us, and dash us into a thousand pieces. O ye who trust in the law for your salvation! ye have erred from the faith; ye do not understand God's designs; ye are ignorant of every one of God's truths. The law was given by Moses to make men feel themselves condemned, but never to save them; its very intention was to "conclude us all in unbelief, and to condemn us all, that he might have mercy upon all." It was intended by its thunders to crush every hope of self-righteousness, by its lightnings to scathe and demolish every tower of our own works, that we might be brought humbly and simply to accept a finished salvation through the one mighty Mediator who has "finished the law, and made it honorable, and brought in an everlasting righteousness," whereby we stand, stand complete before our Maker at last, if we be in Christ. All that the law doth, you will observe, is to curse; it can not bless. In all the pages of revelation you will find no blessings that the law ever gave to one that offended it. There were blessings, and those were comparatively small, which might be gained by those who kept it thoroughly; but no blessing is ever written for one offender. Blessings we find in the gospel; curses we find in the law. (read the entire sermon)
Galatians 3:14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Dear friends, are you living by faith upon the Son of God? Are you trusting in God? Are you believing his promises? Some think that this is a very little thing, but God does not think so. Faith is a better index of character than anything else. The man who trusts his God, and believes his promises, is honoring God far more than is the man who supposes that by any of his own doings he can merit divine approval and favor.
Christ was made a curse for us that the blessing might come upon us. He took our curse that we might take the blessing from his own dear hands, and might possess it evermore.
Galatians 3:15. Brethren, I speak after the matter of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
A covenant is a covenant; whatever happens, it cannot be altered, it stands, though it was only made by men.
If a covenant is once made, signed, sealed, and ratified, no honorable man would think of drawing back from it. Whatever happens afterwards, the covenant having been once made is regarded as an established fact, and it must remain.
If it be legally drawn up, signed, and sealed, and witnessed, —
There it stands, and an appeal can be made to it in any court of law where it may be produced.
Galatians 3:16, 17. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Quoting from the Old Testament, we may believe in the absolute plenary inspiration of that Sacred Book, because the apostle founds an argument upon the singular of a noun having been used rather than the plural.
This is sound reasoning. God made a covenant with Abrabam, and said that in him and in his seed all nations should be blessed. All believers are in Christ, who is here called Abraham’s seed, and therefore they must be blessed. Whatever the law may say or may not say, it was not given until 430 years after the covenant was made with Abraham, and therefore cannot affect it in any way.
That is clear enough. The covenant made with Abraham and his seed cannot be affected by anything that was said or done on Sinai. Whatever the covenant of works may be, or say, or do, it comes in more than four centuries after this glorious covenant of grace had been signed, and sealed, and ratified; and therefore it cannot be affected, it must stand fast for ever.
Is not that splendid argument? The covenant was made with Abraham that God would bless him and his seed. Well now, four hundred and thirty years after, the law was given on Sinai; but that could not affect a covenant made four hundred and thirty years before. The argument goes to prove that the covenant of grace is not affected by any law of rites and ceremonies; nay, not even by the moral law itself. The covenant made with Abraham and his seed must stand; the seed signifies those who believe, therefore, the covenant stands fast with Abraham and all other believers.
Galatians 3:18. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise:
God gave it to Abraham by promise. It was a free gift; he did not bestow it upon the condition of merit on Abraham’s part. Isaac was born, not according to the power of the flesh, but according to promise, and the whole covenant is according to free grace and divine promise.
So, then, we know it is by promise, and God must keep his promise, and we must believe it. It must be true; and if we do believe it, we shall prove it to be true, and it will be fulfilled in every jot and tittle to every believing soul.
All through the Book of Genesis, it is promise, promise, and promise. Isaac was an heir of the promise, and Jacob was an heir of the promise. In fact, Isaac was born by promise, and Ishmael the elder brother did not inherit the blessing because he was born after the flesh. They who believe in Christ are heirs according to the promise. Now, a promise takes us out of the region of law.
Galatians 3:19. It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made;
What is the use of it?
The law makes us know what transgression is; it reveals its true nature. Under the hand of the Holy Spirit, it makes us see the evil of sin. We might not have perceived sin to be sin if it had not been for the command of God not to commit it; but when the commandment comes, then we recognize sin and the evil of it.
Galatians 3:19-21. And it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
There could not have been a better law. Some talk about the law of God being too severe, too strict, too stringent, but it is not. If the design had been that men should live by the law, there could not have been a better law for that purpose; and hence it is proved that, by the principle of law nobody ever can be justified because, even with the best of laws, all men are sinful, and so need that justification which comes only by grace through faith.
The law had its uses, blessed uses. The law should be used for its own purposes, and then it is admirable, it is divine. Take it out of its own proper use, make it a master instead of being a servant, and it is something like fire, which, in your grate, will comfort you, but if it masters you, it burns your house, and destroys you.
Galatians 3:22. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Or, “shut us all up under sin.” The law has come, and proved us all guilty, and shut us all up as in a great prison* from which we cannot escape by any power of our own.
It shuts you all up as in a dungeon, that by the one and only door of faith in Christ you might come out into a glorious liberty.
All of us, by nature are shut up like criminals in a prison that is so securely bolted and barred that there is no hope of escape for any who are immured within it. But why are all the doors shut and fastened? Why in order that Christ may come and open the one only eternal door of salvation: “that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believes.”
Galatians 3:23. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Well do I remember when I was “shut up” in this fashion. I struggled and strove with might and main to get out, but I found no way of escape. I was “shut up” until faith came, and opened the door and brought me out into “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Galatians 3:24. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The pedagogue was a slave who led the children to school, and sometimes whipped them to school. That is what the law did with us; it took us under its management, and whipped us, and drove us to Christ.
The law is meant to lead the sinner to faith in Christ by showing the impossibility of any other way. It is the black dog to fetch the sheep to the shepherd, the burning heat which drives the traveler to the shadow of the great rock in a weary land.
It whipped us to Christ, and taught us that we could not be saved except by Christ.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster-This is an unfortunate translation; it should be, “The law was our pedagogue.” That was a slave, who was employed by the father of a family, to take his boy to school, and bring him home again. He often also was permitted to whip the boy if he did not learn his lessons well. “The law was our pedagogue”
We have outgrown him. God has given us power now to go to Christ’s school ourselves, joyfully and cheerfully. I remember, and I daresay you also do, when that pedagogue whipped us very sorely; I am glad that I am no longer under his power.
Galatians 3:25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Now we go to Christ willingly, cheerfully, joyfully, trusting in him with all our hearts. The pedagogue’s work is done so far as we are concerned.
Galatians 3:26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
We hear a great deal about the universal fatherhood of God, but it is all nonsense. There is no Scripture for it whatsoever. Those only are the children of God who are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26 Children of God by Faith in Christ - Devotional
Galatians 3:27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
“He is everything to you. He covers you, he surrounds you. You do not stand before God in your own filthy rags, but you have put on Christ.”
You set forth that truth in your baptism; you then confessed that you were dead to sin, and declared that you were risen again in Christ to newness of life. Whatever you had to do with the law before, you were dead and buried to it, and to everything but Christ,
Galatians 3:28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
What a mercy it is to be in Christ, so that you yourself are not seen any more, but only Christ, and you accepted in him!
Galatians 3:29. And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
“According to the promise,” — not according to your works, or your deserts, but “heirs according to the promise.”
So that all the blessings which God promised to Abraham belong to you who are believers in Christ, and you may take them, and rejoice in them; but if ye are without faith in Christ, then are ye without the one essential thing which gives you an interest in the covenant of grace.
That settles the question; if you belong to Christ, you are the children of Abraham. Come then, and, without the least hesitation, claim all the privileges that belong to Abraham’s seed. If you have come under the promise, enjoy its blessings, and do not go hack to trusting in rites and ceremonies, or in works of your own performing, but live a life of joyous faith in Jesus Christ your Lord.
Galatians 4:1-5. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Like little children, the Jewish believers were under the law. They observed this ceremony and that, just as children, even though they may be heirs to vast estates, yet, while they are in their minority, are under tutors and governors. But now in Christ we have come of age, and we have done with those school-books and that tutorship, and we have received the adoption of sons. Now, we have joy and peace in believing; we have begun to enter into our possession; we have the earnest of it already, and by-and-by we shall receive the fullness of the inheritance o! the saints in light.
Galatians 4:6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
While the Jewish believers, like children, were under the law, they did not have such direct access to the Father as we have. They could not enter into such close fellowship with God as now we can. We who are the sons of God, really born into his family, feel within us a something that makes us call God, “Father,” not only in prayer, saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven;” but, inwardly, when we are not in the attitude of prayer, our hearts keep on crying, “Father, Father.” The Jew may say, “Abba, and the word is very sweet; but we cry, “Father,” and it means the same thing.
Galatians 4:7. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
All God’s sons are, in a certain sense, his servants; but there is a sense in which servants are not sons. We, therefore, are not like those servants who have no relationship to their master, and no share in his possessions; but we are sons. Whatever service we render, we are still sons, and we have a share in all that our Father has; we are heirs, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Are you living up to your privileges, brethren? Are we any of us fully realizing what this heirship means? Do we not often live as if we were only servants toiling for hire? Do we not tremble at God as if we were his slaves rather than his sons? Let us remember that we are God’s sons, his heirs; and let us come close to him, let us take possession of the blessed inheritance which he has provided for us.
Galatians 4:8-11. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after theft ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years, I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.
Among the heathen, there were divers “lucky” and “unlucky” days; sacred days, and days in which they indulged in sensual excess. They had even “holy” months and “unholy” months. Now, all that kind of thing is done away with in the case of a Christian: he is set free from such weak and beggarly superstitions. Among the Jews, there were certain sacred festivals, times that were more notable than other seasons; but they also were done away with in Christ. We observe the Christian Sabbath; but beyond that, to the true believer, there should be no special observance of days, and months, and years. All that is a return to “the weak and beggarly elements” from which Christ has delivered him. That bondage is all ended now; but there are some who still” observe days, and months, and times, and years;” and Paul says to them, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” Every day is holy, every year is holy, to a holy man; and every place is holy, too, to the man who brings a holy heart into it.
Galatians 4:12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
“Be perfectly at home with me, for I am so with you. Though you Galatians have treated me very badly, yet ye have not really injured me, and I freely overlook your ill manners toward me.”
Galatians 4:13-15. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected, but received me as an angel Of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
The apostle remembers how they received him at first, his gospel was to them like life from the dead; and though he was full of infirmities, — perhaps had weak eyes, — perhaps had a stammering tongue, — perhaps was at that time very much depressed in spirit, — yet, he says, “You received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. You loved me so much that, if it had been possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”
Galatians 4:16. Am I therefore become your enemy, became I tell you the truth?
There come times, with all God’s servants, when certain people proclaim something fresh and new in doctrine; and then the old messenger of God, who was blessed to them, comes to be despised. I have lived long enough to see dozens of very fine fancies started, but they have all come to nothing; I daresay I shall see a dozen more, and they will all come to nothing. But here I stand; I am not led astray either by novelties of excitement or novelties of doctrine. The things which I preached at the first, I preach still, and so I shall continue, as God shall help me. But I know, in some little measure, what the apostle meant when he said, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
Galatians 4:17-20. They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
The point of doubt was, that they had been led astray by legal teachers; they had been made to believe that, after all, there was something in outward ceremonies, something in the works of the law, and so they had come under bondage again. So the apostle says, —
Galatians 4:21-23. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; —
By Abraham’s own strength; —
Galatians 4:24. But he of the freewoman was by promise.
Born when Abraham and his wife were past age, — born by the power of God’s Spirit, according to promise.
Galatians 4:24. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants: the one from the mount Sinai? which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
It is the strength of the flesh which leads to bondage.
Galatians 4:25, 26. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
That is, of all of us who believe in Christ Jesus. We are born of the free-woman, not of the bondwoman; not born of the covenant of works, and in the strength of the creature; but born of the covenant of grace, in the power of God, according to promise.
Galatians 4:27, 28. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
If we are God’s children, it is not by our own strength, or by the strength of the flesh, in any measure or degree; but it is by the grace of God, and the promise of God, that we are what we are.
Galatians 4:29, 30., But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture?
Make a compromise, and be friends? Let Isaac and Ishmael live in the same house, and lie in the same bed? No!
Galatians 5:1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
God grant us grace to keep to grace! God grant us faith enough to live by faith, even to the end, as the freeborn children of God, for his name’s sake! Amen.
“You are not under the law, but under grace. Do not subject yourselves, therefore, to legal principles. Do not live as if you were working for wages, and were earning your own salvation. Do not submit yourselves to the ritual and commandments of man, which would rob you of your liberty in many ways, but having once become free man, never again wear the chain of a slave: ’Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.’ Because you are the seed of Isaac, who was born according to the promise, you are not the children of the bondwoman, you are not Ishmaelites; therefore, as you were born free, as Christ has made you free by virtue of your new birth, stand fast in that glorious liberty.”
Galatians 5:1 Christ Hath Made Us Free - Devotional
Galatians 5:2, 3. Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ’shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
If you begin being saved by the law, you must go through with it. You cannot take the principle of law and the principle of grace, and blend those two together. They are like oil and water, they will never mile. If salvation be of works, it is not of grace; and if it be of grace, it is not of works. You cannot go upon the two contrary principles of merit and of favor.
Galatians 5:4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
You have turned aside from it you are not standing with one foot upon grace, and one foot upon the law but you have gone right away from grace. You must cleave to one or the other. If you take the law to be your hope, you must keep to it; and the end will be that you will die in despair.
Galatians 5:5, 6. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision but faith which worketh by love.
It is not any rite, and it is not the neglect of any rite which can produce righteousness. It is as easy to trust in your non-observance of a ceremony as to trust in the ceremony itself, and it will be quite as delusive. It is faith in Christ that brings righteousness, the “faith which worketh by love.”
There are some who do many works as the result of a kind of faith, who, nevertheless, are not justified, as, for instance, Herod, who believed in John and did many things, and yet murdered him (Mark 6:17-28). His faith did work, but it worked by dread and not by love. He feared the stem language of the second Elijah, and the judgments which would come upon him if he rejected the Baptist's warnings, and his faith worked through fear. The great test of the working of saving faith is this: It "worketh by love." If you are led by your faith in Jesus Christ to love him and so to serve him, then you have the faith of God's elect.
Galatians 5:7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
“You Galatians seemed to receive the gospel very readily, and to be very earnest in obeying it; what has caused you to turn aside to the old legal righteousness? You are very changeable, very fickle; you seemed very energetic in running the Christian race; whatever has got in your way? ’Who did hinder you?’ Somebody or other must have done so.”
Galatians 5:7: Various Hindrances - Sermon Notes - NEVER censure indiscriminately. Admit and praise that which is good that you may the more effectually rebuke the evil. Paul did not hesitate to praise the Galatians and say, "Ye did run well." It is a source of much pleasure to see saints running well. To do this, they must run in the right road, straight forward, perseveringly, at the top of their pace, with their eye on Christ, etc. It is a great grief when such are hindered or put off the road. The way is the truth, and the running is obedience. Men are hindered when they cease to obey the truth. It may be helpful to try and find out who has hindered us in our race. WE SHALL USE THE TEXT IN REFERENCE TO HINDERED BELIEVERS. You are evidently hindered—You are not so loving and zealous as you were. You are quitting the old faith for new notions. You are losing your first joy and peace. You are not now leaving the world and self behind. You are not now abiding all the day with your Lord.
Who has hindered you? Did I do it? Pray, then, for your minister. Did your fellow-members do it? You ought to have been proof against them. They could not have intended it. Pray for them. Did the world do it? Why so much in it? Did the devil do it? Resist him. Did you not do it yourself? This is highly probable. Did you not overload yourself with worldly care? Did you not indulge carnal ease? Did you not by pride become self-satisfied? Did you not neglect prayer, Bible reading, the public means of grace, the Lord's Table, etc.? Mend your ways, and do not hinder your own soul. Did not false teachers do it, as in the case of the Galatians? If so, quit them at once, and listen only to the gospel of Christ.
You must look to it, and mend your pace. Your loss has been already great. You might by this time have been far on upon the road. Your natural tendency will be to slacken still more. Your danger is great of being overtaken by error and sin. Your death would come of ceasing to obey the truth. Your wisdom is to cry for help that you may run aright.
WE SHALL USE THE TEXT IN REFERENCE TO DELAYING SINNERS. You have sometimes been set a-running. god has blessed his word to your arousing. God has not yet given you up; this is evident. God's way of salvation still lies open before you. What has hindered you? Self-righteousness and trust in yourself? Carelessness, procrastination, and neglect? Love of self-indulgence or the secret practice of pleasurable sins?
Frivolous, skeptical, or wicked companions? Unbelief and mistrust of God's mercy? The worst evils will come of being hindered. Those who will not obey truth will become the dupes of lies. Truth not obeyed is disobeyed, and so sin is multiplied. Truth disregarded becomes an accuser, and its witness secures our condemnation. God have mercy on hinderers. We must rebuke them. God have mercy on the hindered. We would arouse them.
Galatians 5:8. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
“It does not come from God. He called you to faith in his dear Son, and to all those virtues and graces which naturally spring from the root of faith. Somebody else has called you aside, some false shepherd, who is but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and who would destroy you if he could.”
Galatians 5:9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
One false doctrine very soon sours all your belief; the whole lump is leavened with it. If you have a wrong ground of confidence, you are wrong altogether.
Galatians 5:10. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whoever he be.
Depend upon it, every man who troubles a church with false doctrine is amenable to the High Court above; and, sooner or later, he may expect even a temporal judgment here below.
Galatians 5:11. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.
“The offense of the Cross” is that it sets up faith is the infinite merit of Christ’s atonement, and knocks down all confidence in outward ritual and ceremonies. Paul says that, if he had preached the flesh-pleasing doctrines of men, he would not have been persecuted; but the fact that he was persecuted was a proof that he was standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made him free.
Galatians 5:11: The Offence of the Cross - Sermon Notes - PAUL intends here to declare that the offense of the cross never has ceased and never can cease. To suppose it to have ceased is folly. The religion of Jesus is most peaceful, mild, and benevolent. Yet, its history shows it to have been assailed with bitterest hate all along. It is clearly offensive to the unregenerate mind. There is no reason to believe that it is one jot more palatable to the world than it used to be. The world and the gospel are both unchanged.
WHEREIN LIES THE OFFENSE OF THE CROSS? Its doctrine of atonement offends man's pride. Its simple teaching offends man's wisdom and artificial taste. Its being a remedy for' man's ruin offends his fancied power to save himself. Its addressing all as sinners offends the dignity of Pharisees. Its coming as a revelation offends "modern thought." Its lofty holiness offends man's love of sin.
HOW IS THIS OFFENSE SHOWN? Frequently by the actual persecution of believers. More often by slandering believers and sneering at them as old-fashioned, foolish, weak-minded, morose, self-conceited, etc. Often by omitting to preach the cross. Many nowadays preach a Christless, bloodless gospel. Or by importing new meanings into orthodox terms. Or by mixing the truth of Christ with errors. Or by openly denying the deity of him who died on the cross and the substitutionary character of his sufferings. Indeed, there are a thousand ways of showing that the cross offends us in one respect or another.
WHAT THEN? Herein is folly, that men are offended— With that which God ordains. With that which must win the day. With the only thing which can save them. With that which is full of wisdom and beauty. Herein is grace—That we who once were offended by the cross, now find it to be— The one hope of our hearts. The great delight of our souls. The joyful boast of our tongues. Herein is heart-searching. Perhaps we are secretly offended at the cross. Perhaps we give no offense to haters of the cross. Many professed Christians never cause offense to the most godless. Is this because they bear no testimony to the cross? Is this because they are not crucified to the world? Is this because there is no real trust in the cross and no true knowledge of Christ?
Let us not follow those preachers who are not friends to the cross. Let us have no fellowship with those who have no fellowship with Christ. Preachers who have caught the spirit of the age are of the world, and the world loves its own; but we must disown them. Let us not be distressed by the offense of the cross, even when it comes upon us with bitterest scorn. Let us look for it and accept it as a token that we are in the right.
Galatians 5:12. I would they were even cut off which troubles you.
Excommunicated, and put out of the church; nay, it would be better if they were even dead, rather than that they should live to spread such evil even in a Christian church. Sometimes, when we think of the interests of immortal souls, we are apt to grow indignant, and rightly so, towards wilfully false teachers.
Remember, beloved brethren, that the Epistle to the Galatians is one in which Paul, with especial clearness, proves the doctrine of justification by faith alone. So much is this the case, that the famous Commentary of Martin Luther upon this Epistle is perhaps the strongest work extant upon the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. But that doctrine was never intended to be separated from the Scriptural teaching concerning the fruit of faith, namely, good works; and, hence, we find, in the close of this very Epistle, the strongest possible declaration that, if men live in sin, they will reap the result of sin; and that only if, by grace, they are brought to walk in holiness, will they win the rewards of grace.
Galatians 5:13, 14. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“Do not make license out of your liberty. Remember that liberty from sin is not liberty to sin.”
The condensation of the whole law is contained in that one word “love.” In the first table, we are taught to love God; and the commands of the second table teach us to love our neighbor.
Do not let liberty become license; do not say, “I may do this or that, and therefore I will do it because it pleases me.” You are not to do anything because it pleases you, but you are to do everything because it pleases God. When a man is no longer a slave to sin, or self, or Satan, let him begin to serve his brethren: “By love serve one another.”
Do not turn your liberty into license. The apostle, in this Epistle, had began urging the Christians of Galatians to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, and never to be again entangled with the yoke of legal bondage. He warned them against that error into which many have fallen. But you know that it is often our tendency, if we escape from one error, to rush into another. So the apostle guards these Christian against that Antinomian spirit which teaches us that freedom from the law allows indulgence in sin: “Use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
The legal spirit is all for expansion; it multiplies it commands, and lays down its ritual for this, and that, and the other; but the gospel spirit is all for condensation. It has condensed the whole law into a single word, that is “love.”
Galatians 5:14. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Oh, if that “one word” were so engraven on our hearts as to influence all our lives, what blessed lives of love to God and love to men we should lead!
Galatians 5:15. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
When dogs and wolves bite one another, it is according to their nature; but it is bad indeed when sheep take to biting one another. If I must be bitten at all, let me rather be bitten by a dog than by a sheep. That is to say, the wounds inflicted by the godly are far more painful to bear, and last much longer, than those caused by wicked men. Besides, we can say with the psalmist, “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it.” It is natural that the serpent’s seed should nibble at our heel, and seek to do us injury; but when the bite comes from a brother, — from a child of God, then it is peculiarly painful. Well might the apostle write, “If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” I have lived long enough to see churches absolutely destroyed, not by any external attacks, but by internal contention.
Finding fault, slandering, injuring, bearing malice, and so on: —”If ye bite and devour one another,”
This man finds fault, the other must have his own way, a third is for something quite new, a fourth is for nothing but what is antique, and so they fall to squabbling and quarrelling.
“You will eat one another up; you will, each one, condemn his neighbor.” Paul represents the great Judge coming, and waiting outside the door; and when he hears two men condemning one another, he says to himself, “I will confirm their verdict; they have mutually condemned each other, I will say ’Amen’ to it.” What a sad thing it is if professed Christians are found thus condemning one another!
Galatians 5:16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Be obedient to that great principle of the Spirit which goes with the doctrine of grace and salvation by faith, and then you will not be obedient to that lusting of the flesh which is in you by nature.
If your life is guided by the Spirit of God, — if you are spiritual men, and your actions are wrought in the power of the Spirit, “ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Walk under the Spirit’s power, following his guidance. The Spirit never leads a man into sin. He never conducts him into self-indulgence and excess.
Galatians 5:17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
I know in my own soul that I feel myself to be like two distinct men. There is the old man, as base as ever, and the new man, that cannot sin, because he is born of God. I cannot myself understand the experience of those Christians who do not find a conflict within, for my experience goes to show this, if it shows anything, that there is an incessant contention between the old nature—O that we could get rid of it—and the new nature—for the strength of which God be thanked! Do you not find it so?
How often that is the case! Ye would be perfect, but “ye cannot do the things that ye would.” We would, if possible, escape from every evil thought; we would not even hear of anything sinful, if we could help it.
You are pulled about by two contrary forces; you are dragged downward by the flesh, and you are drawn upward by the Spirit.
They will never agree; these two powers are always contrary one to the other. If you think that you can help God by getting angry, you make a great mistake. You cannot fight God’s battles with the devil’s weapons. It is not possible that the power of the flesh should help the power of the Spirit.
The law is ever to you the blessed rule by which you judge your conduct, but it is not a law of condemnation to you, neither are you seeking salvation by it.
Galatians 5:17 Flesh lusts Against the Spirit - Devotional - In every believer's heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armory against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer, and faith, and hope, and love, to cast out the evil; it takes unto it the "whole armour of God," and wrestles earnestly. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The battle of "Christian" with "Apollyon" lasted three hours, but the battle of Christian with himself lasted all the way from the Wicket Gate in the river Jordan. The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body: but although we are closely beset, and often in sore conflict, we have an Almighty helper, even Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who is ever with us, and who assures us that we shall eventually come off more than conquerors through him. With such assistance the new-born nature is more than a match for its foes. Are you fighting with the adversary to-day? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh, all against you? Be not discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God himself is with you; Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Rophi is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, "looking unto Jesus"; and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory, and glorious the promised reward.
From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day
Galatians 5:18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
The Spirit never brings the soul into bondage, the terrors and the fears which come of legal slavery are not the work of the Spirit of God. Where he works, holiness is delight, and the service of God is a continual joy. Oh, that we may be thus led of the Spirit!
Galatians 5:18 Led by the Spirit - Devotional - We who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified. How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law! When thinking of my state before God the question is not, "Am I perfect in myself before the law?" but, "Am I perfect in Christ Jesus?" That is a very different matter. We need not enquire, "Am I without sin naturally?" but, "Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness?" It is not "Am I in myself well pleasing to God?" but it is "Am I accepted in the Beloved?" The Christian views his evidences from the top of Sinai, and grows alarmed concerning his salvation; it were better far if he read his title by the light of Calvary. "Why," saith he, "my faith has unbelief in it, it is not able to save me." Suppose he had considered the object of his faith instead of his faith, then he would have said, "There is no failure in him, and therefore I am safe." He sighs over his hope: "Ah! my hope is marred and dimmed by an anxious carefulness about present things; how can I be accepted?" Had he regarded the ground of his hope, he would have seen that the promise of God standeth sure, and that whatever our doubts may be, the oath and promise never fail. Ah! believer, it is safer always for you to be led of the Spirit into gospel liberty than to wear legal fetters. Judge yourself at what Christ is rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections: you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:19-21. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The list is always too long to be completed; we are obliged to sum up with a kind of et cetera: “and such like.”
They are clear, plain, self-condemned.
Any kind of sensual indulgence — whatever it may be — a lustful glance, the cherishing of an unclean desire,— the utterance of a foul expression, all this is condemned, as well as the overt acts of adultery and fornication.
Is drunkenness actually put by the apostle after murder, as though it were something worse than that terrible crime? Or is it not, oftentimes, the case that drunkenness lies at the bottom of the murder
Paul never said, nor ever thought of saying, that man might live in sin, that grace might abound. No, no; these evil things must be given up. Christ has come to save us from every evil work. And this is the salvation that we preach,— not simply salvation from hell, but salvation from sin, which is the very fire that has kindled the infernal flame. But how different from all this evil is the fruit of the Spirit!
Observe that the gospel gives no toleration to sin. Some people tell us that the doctrine of faith is not practical, but they know better although they say that. They have only to observe those who are actuated by the principle of faith, and they will find them abounding in good works, while the men who are swayed by the principle of law talk a great deal about works, but have little enough of them in practice. The gospel denounces sin, ay, and kills it; it gives us the force with which we fight against it and overcome it.
A very solemn, searching, sweeping declaration. Let each man judge himself by this test. “The fruit of the Spirit” — is equally manifest, as the apostle goes on to say…
Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is…
Universal love; first, to God; next, to his people; and, then, to all mankind. Have we that fruit of the Spirit? If so, it will make us of a very amiable disposition; it will dethrone selfishness, and set up holy affections within our heart.
Joy and peace seem to blossom and ripen out of love. Longsuffering, too, is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You will be hourly tried, but the Spirit of God will give you patience to suer long and to endure much. You will also have gentleness. Some people are very hard, stern, severe, quick-tempered, passionate; but the true follower of Christ will be gentle and tender, even as he was.
Neither human nor divine. Good men make no law against these things, nor does God, for he approves of them. What a wonderful cluster of the grapes of Eshcol we have here! “The fruit of the Spirit” — as if all this were but one after all; — many luscious berries forming one great cluster. Oh, that all these things may be in us and abound, that we may be neither barren nor unfruitful!
Neither God nor man has ever made a law against these things; the more there is of them, the better will it be for everybody. Oh, that they prevailed all over the world!
Galatians 5:24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Condemned it to die, nailed it up to the cross, and kept it in a dying, mortifying posture.
It is not yet dead, but it is crucified. It hangs up on the cross, straining to break away from the iron hold fast, but it cannot, for it is doomed to die. Happy indeed shall that day be when it shall be wholly dead.
A crucified Christ is the leader of a crucified people. Oh, to have all the affections and lusts of the mesh nailed up! They may not be actually dead; for those who are crucified may still live on for some hours, but they are doomed to die, their life is a very painful one, and it is hastening to a close. A man who is crucified cannot get down from the cross to do what he wills; and, oh! it is a great blessing to have our sinful self thus nailed up. Ah, sir! you may struggle, but you cannot get down; you may strive and cry, but your hands and feet are nailed; you cannot go into active, actual sin. The Lord grant that the nails may hold very fast, that none of the strugglings of our old nature may be able to pull out those nails that have fastened it up to the cross!
Galatians 5:25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
If that be our real life, let it also be our course of action.
If our spiritual life is the result of a divine work, let our actions be in harmony with it: “If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25 Live in the Spirit - Devotional
Galatians 5:26. Let us not be desirous of vain glory,—
We call it glory, but it is vain glory it is marred by vanity if it arises from anything done by us. Glory for you or for me because of anything that we can do is too absurd an idea to be entertained for a moment: “Let us not be desirous of vain glory,”-
Do not let us want to be accounted as somebody; for, if we do, we prove that we are really nobody. Nobody is anybody till he is willing to be nobody; as long as he wants to be somebody, he is nobody and nothing.
Galatians 5:26. Provoking one another, envying one another.
God save us from that and every other form of evil!
For, whenever a man is proud, and blustering, and vain-glorious, he is sure to provoke somebody or other, and then they who are so provoked fall into another sin, viz., the sin of-Envying one another.
O brethren, let us try to get over all this, and reach out to that blessed state of love which will bring to us peace and joy in the Holy Ghost!
Do Christian people need to be talked to like this? Ay, that they do, for the best of men are but men at their best, and the godliest saint is liable to fall into the fondest sin unless the grace of God prevent. Oh, that we could expel from the Church of Christ all vain glorying, all provoking of one another, and all envying of one another! How often, if one Christian brother does a little more than his fellow-workers, they begin to find fault with him; and if one is blessed with greater success than others are, how frequently that success is disparaged and spoken of slightingly! This spirit of envy is, more or less, in us all; and though, perhaps we are not exhibiting it just now, it only needs a suitable opportunity for its display, and it would be manifested. No man here has any idea of how bad he really is. You do not know how good the grace of God can make you, nor how bad you are by nature, nor how bad you might become if that nature were left to itself.
Galatians 6:1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
He is a slow traveler; he is not speeding swiftly on the way to heaven, so the fault overtakes him. Had he been quicker of pace, he might have outstripped it; but he is “overtaken in a fault.” What then? Turn him out of the church? Have done with him? No. “If a man be overtaken in a fault,”—
Pick him up, help him to run better than he did before. Set his bones for him if they have been broken; put him in his proper place again.
Paul does not say, “Lest thou also fall;” but, “Lest thou also be tempted,” — as much as to say, “You will be sure to fall if you are tempted;” and that man, who thinks that other people ought to be cast off because they have committed a fault, is so proud in his own heart that he only needs to be tempted, and he would fall, too. This is a very expressive way of putting the matter: “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
What would you wish others to do to you if you were in the position of this fallen one? The apostle does not say, “Considering thyself lest thou also be overtaken in a fault.” No, but, “lest thou also be tempted,” — as much as to say, “It only needs the temptation to come to you, and you will yield to it.”
If he travels so slowly that his faults catch him up, and knock him down: “If a man be overtaken in a fault,”
In these days of epidemics, if we knew that a certain house was tainted with disease, and if we saw a person who had come from it with the marks of the disease in his face, what should we feel? Should we not take it as a warning to keep clear of the house, be-cause we ourselves are as likely to take the disease as he was? So when we see a sinner transgressing, we should say to ourselves, "I also am a man, and a fallen man. Let me abhor every evil way, and guard myself jealously, lest I also fall into sin."
Galatians 6:2. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Help your brethren. If yon see that they have more to do than they can accomplish, take a share of their labor. If they have a heavier burden than they can bear, try to put your shoulder beneath their load, and so lighten it for them.
Galatians 6:2,5: Burden-bearing - Sermon Notes - GALATIANS were apparently fond of the law and its burdens. At least, they appeared to be ready to load themselves with ceremonies, and so fulfill the law of Moses. Paul would have them think of other burdens, by the bearing of which they would fulfill the law of Christ. We are not under law, but under love. But love is also law in the best sense. The law of Christ is love. Love is the fulfilling of the law. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Lest this principle should be presumed upon, he mentions the principle of individual responsibility. "Every man shall bear his own burden?'
COMMUNITY. "Bear ye one another's burdens?" Negatively: It tacitly forbids certain modes of action. We are not to burden others. Some take a liberty to do so from this very text, as if it said, "Let others bear your burdens," which is just the reverse of what it urges. We are not to spy out others' burdens and report thereon. We are not to despise them for having such loads to bear. We are not to act as if all things existed for ourselves, and we were to bend all to our own purposes. We are not to go through the world oblivious of the sorrows of others. We may not shut our eyes to the woes of mankind. Positively: We are to share the burdens of others: By compassion, bear with their former sins (verse 1). By patience, bear with their infirmities and even their conceit (verse 2). By sympathy, bear their sorrows (verses 2-3). By assistance, bear their wants (verses 6, 10). By communion, in love and comfort, bear their struggles. By prayer and practical help, bear the burden of their labors and, thus, lighten it (verse 6)..
Specially, we ought to consider—The erring brother. Referred to in verse 1 as "overtaken in a fault?" We must tenderly restore him. The provoking brother, who thinks himself to be something (see verse 3). Bear with him; his mistake will bring him many a burden before he has done with it. The brother who is peculiarly trying is to be borne with to seventy times seven, even to the measure of the law of Christ. The greatly tried is to have our greatest sympathy. The minister of Christ should be released from temporal burdens, that he may give himself wholly to the burden of the Lord.
IMMUNITY. "For every man shall bear his own burden." We shall not bear all the burdens of others. We are not so bound to each other that we are partakers in willful transgression, negligence, or rebellion. Each must bear his own sin if he persists in it. Each must bear his own shame, which results from his sin. Each must bear his own responsibility in his own sphere. Each must bear his own judgment at the last.
PERSONALITY. "Every man … his own burden." True godliness is a personal affair, and we cannot cast off our individuality. Therefore, let us ask for grace to look well to ourselves in the following matters: Personal religion. The new birth, repentance, faith, love, holiness, fellowship with God, etc., are all personal. Personal self-examination. We cannot leave the question of our soul's condition to the judgment of others. Personal service. We have to do what no one else can do. Personal responsibility. Obligations cannot be transferred. Personal effort. Nothing can be a substitute for this. Personal sorrow. "The heart knoweth its own bitterness." Personal comfort. We need the Comforter for ourselves, and we must personally look up to the Lord for his operations. All this belongs to the Christian, and we may judge ourselves by it.
So bear your own burden as not to forget others. So live as not to come under the guilt of other men's sins.So help others as not to destroy their self-reliance.
Galatians 6:3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Paul does not say, “He deceiveth other people;” no, “he deceiveth himself.” As a general rule, other people find him out, they learn what he really is, but “he deceiveth himself.”
Galatians 6:4, 5. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.
There is, after all, a burden which we cannot carry for others, and which we cannot shift upon others. There are burdens of care, and sorrow, and trouble, which we can take from other men’s shoulders; but the great burden of responsibility before God, each man must himself carry.
Galatians 6:6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Those who are taught, and so receive spiritual things, should maintain those who are their teachers as far as they are able to do so.
Paul puts that in connection with the support of those who are teachers of the truth, and I have sometimes thought that, in certain churches where God’s ministers have been starved, it was not very wonderful that the people should be starved, too. They thought so little about the pastor that they left him in need, so it was not strange that, as they sowed little, they reaped little. One of these misers said that his religion did not cost him more than a shilling a year, and somebody replied that he thought it was a shilling wasted on a bad thing, for his poor religion was not worth even that small amount.
Galatians 6:7. Be not deceived; God A not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
That is true under the gospel as well as under the law.
It is taken for granted in the world that young persons ought to be allowed to sow their "wild oats," and then it is hoped that they will settle down. But these wild oats are more easily sown than reaped, and many men might weep tears of blood to think of what a harvest has sprung from them
Galatians 6:7: Sowing and Reaping (Sermon Notes) - BOTH Luther and Calvin confine these words to the support of the ministers of the word, and certainly therein they have weighty meaning. Churches that starve ministers will be starved themselves. But we prefer to take the words as expressing a general principle. GOD IS NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH. Either by the notion that there will be no rewards and punishments. Or by the idea that a bare profession will suffice to save us. Or by the fancy that we shall escape in the crowd. Or by the superstitious supposition that certain rites will set all straight at last, whatever our lives may be. Or by a reliance upon an orthodox creed, a supposed conversion, a presumptuous faith, and a little almsgiving.
THE LAWS OF HIS GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE SET ASIDE. It is so in nature. Law is inexorable. Gravitation crushes the man who opposes it. It is so in providence. Evil results surely follow social wrong. Conscience tells us it must be so. Sin must be punished. The word of God is very clear upon this point. To alter laws would disarrange the universe and remove the foundation of the hopes of the righteous.
EVIL SOWING WILL BRING EVIL REAPING. This is seen in the present result of certain sins. Sins of lust bring disease into the bodily frame. Sins of idolatry have led men to cruel and degrading practices. Sins of temper have caused murders, wars, strifes, and misery. Sins of appetite, especially drunkenness, cause want, misery, delirium, etc. This is seen in the mind becoming more and more corrupt and less able to see the evil of sin or to resist temptation. This is seen when the man becomes evidently obnoxious to God and man so as to need restraint and invite punishment.. This is seen when the sinner becomes himself disappointed in the result of his conduct. His malice eats his heart; his greed devours his soul; his infidelity destroys his comfort; his raging passions agitate his spirit. This is seen when the impenitent is confirmed in evil and eternally punished with remorse. Hell will be the harvest of a man's own sin. Conscience is the worm, which gnaws him.
GOOD SOWING WILL BRING GOOD REAPING. The rule holds good both ways. Let us, therefore, enquire as to this good sowing:. In what power is it to be done? In what manner and spirit shall we set about it? What are its seeds? Towards God, we sow in the Spirit, faith and obedience. Towards men, love, truth, justice, kindness, forbearance. Towards self, control of appetite, purity, etc. What is the reaping of the Spirit? Life everlasting dwelling within us and abiding there forever. Let us sow good seed always. Let us sow it plentifully that we may reap in proportion. Let us begin to sow it at once
Galatians 6:8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
That is what always comes to the flesh; it decays and corrupts.
No corruption shall come to that which belongs to the Spirit: “He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit resp life everlasting.”
He shall reap what flesh turns to in due time: “he shall of the flesh reap corruption.” What is the end of flesh? The fairest flesh, that ever was moulded from the most beauteous form, ends in corruption; and if we live for the flesh, and sow to it, we shall reap “corruption.”
He shall reap what the Spirit really is, and what the Spirit really generates: “life everlasting.” Of course, if a man sows tares, he reaps tares. If he sows wheat, he reaps wheat. If we sow to the flesh, we reap corruption. If we sow to the Spirit, we shall “reap life everlasting.”
Galatians 6:8 Spiritual Sowing - Devotional
Galatians 6:9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
It is a pity to faint just when the time is coming to reap; so, sow on, brother and sister, sow on!
Galatians 6:10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Extend your love, your charity, to all mankind; but let the center of that circle be in the home where God has placed you, — in the home of his people: “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Galatians 6:12, 13. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised.
“See,” say they, “these Gentiles. We have converted them, and we have got them circumcised. Is not that a wonderful thing? “No, not at all, for he says,
Galatians 6:13. I see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
I suppose that he meant, “See what big characters I have made. My eyes are weak, and so, when I do write a letter,” says Paul, “in the dimness of this dungeon, with my poor weak eyes, and my hands fettered, I have to write text-hand, and give it to you in large letters. Well,” he says, “then carry it out in big letters. You see with what large letters I have written to you, now emphasize it all, take it as emphatic, and carry it out with great diligence. As I have written this with mine own hand, and not used an amanuensis, I beseech you to pay the more attention to it, you Galatians, who seem to be so bewitched that, to deliver you from false doctrine, and an evil spirit, I would even write a letter with my own blood if it were needful.”
Galatians 6:14. But God foretold that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
“I have ceased to care”, says Paul, “about glorying in men, and making other people glory in my converts. The world is dead to me, and I to it.”
Paul might have gloried in the life of Christ. Was there ever such another, so benevolent and blameless? He might have gloried in the resurrection of Christ. It is the world's great hope concerning those who are asleep. He might have gloried in our Lord's ascension, for he "led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8), and all his followers glory in his victory. He might have gloried in his second advent, and I doubt not that he did. Yet the apostle selected beyond all these that center of the Christian system, that point which is most assailed by its foes, that focus of the world's derision—the cross. Learn, then, that the highest glory of our holy religion is the cross. The history of grace begins earlier and goes on later, but in the middle point stands the cross.
Galatians 6:14: Three Crucifixions (Sermon Notes) - PAUL vigorously rebuked those who went aside from the doctrine of the Cross (verses 12-13). When we rebuke others, we must take care to go right ourselves; hence, he says, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross." Our own resolute adherence to truth, when practically carried out, is a very powerful argument against opponents. Paul rises to warmth when he thinks of the opponents of the cross. He no sooner touches the subject than he glows and burns. Yet, he has his reasons and states them clearly and forcibly in the latter words of the text.
Here are three crucifixions— CHRIST CRUCIFIED. "The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." He mentions the atoning death of Jesus in the plainest and most obnoxious terms. The cross was shameful as the gallows tree. Yet with the clearest contrast as to the person enduring it, for to him he gives his full honors in the glorious title, "our Lord Jesus Christ." He refers to the doctrine of free justification and full atonement by the death of Jesus upon the cross. In this he gloried so as to glory in nothing else, for he viewed it—
1. As a display of the divine character. "God was in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:19). 2. As the manifestation of the love of the Savior (John 15:13). 3. As the putting away of sin by atonement (Heb. 9:26) 4. As the breathing of hope, peace, and joy to the desponding soul. 5. As the great means of touching hearts and changing lives. 6. As depriving death of terror, seeing Jesus died. 7. As ensuring heaven to all believers. In any one of these points of view, the cross is a pillar of light, flaming with unutterable glory.
THE WORLD CRUCIFIED. "The world is crucified unto me." As the result of seeing all things in the light of the Cross, he saw the world to be like a felon executed upon a cross. 1. Its character condemned (John 12:31). 2. Its judgment contemned. Who cares for the opinion of a gibbeted felon? 3. Its teachings despised. What authority can it have? 4. Its pleasures, honors, treasures, rejected. 5. Its pursuits, maxims, and spirit cast out. 6. Its threatenings and blandishments made nothing of. 7. Itself soon to pass away, its glory and its fashion fading.
THE BELIEVER CRUCIFIED. "And I unto the world." To the world, Paul was no better than a man crucified. If faithful, a Christian may expect to be treated as only fit to be put to a shameful death. He will probably find— 1. Himself at first bullied, threatened, and ridiculed. 2. His name and honor held in small repute because of his association with the godly poor. 3. His actions and motives misrepresented. 4. Himself despised as a sort of madman or of doubtful intellect. 5. His teaching described as exploded, dying out, etc. 6. His ways and habits reckoned to be Puritanic and hypocritical. 7. Himself given up as irreclaimable and therefore dead to society.
Let us glory in the cross, because it gibbets the world's glory, and honor, and power! Let us glory in the cross when men take from us all other glory.
Galatians 6:15-17. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
I have the marks of the whips upon my body. I am the branded slave of Jesus Christ. There is no getting the marks out of me. I cannot run away. I cannot deny that he is my